Atletico Madrid have hit back at Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu with a scathing statement registering the club’s “disgust” at how the Catalans and Antoine Griezmann have conducted themselves.
Bartomeu revealed on Friday that talks had been held between Barca and Atletico directors over the possible signing of the France striker.
Griezmann has already informed his current club that he will not be returning for 2019-20, with Barca odds-on to complete a deal this summer.
But far from the optimistic outlook shared by Bartomeu in his press conference, Atletico released a communique hours later slamming their rivals’ behaviour throughout the Griezmann saga and ordering the forward to report for pre-season training.
“On May 14 Antoine Griezmann told Miguel Angel Gil, Diego Simeone and Andrea Berta of his decision to leave the club at the end of the season. In the days following that meeting Atletico were made aware that Barcelona and the player had reached a deal back in March, just after the second leg of our Champions League game against Juventus, and that they had been negotiating the terms of the deal since mid-February,” the statement claims.
“With regards to President Bartomeu’s declarations today, we want to make clear that it is true a meeting took place yesterday between Miguel Angel Gil and Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau, at Barcelona’s request; and that in said meeting Mr Grau made known his intention to, once the release clause in Antoine Griezmann’s contract has been modified from €200 to €120 million, ask for a delay in the payment of the above amount in the clause, valid from July 1.
“Obviously Atletico Madrid’s answer was negative, understanding that both Barcelona and the player have disrespected Atletico Madrid and all their fans.
“As a consequence, today Atletico Madrid have ordered the player, his sister in her capacity as his agent and his lawyer, that Antoine Griezmann must present himself on Sunday at the club to begin pre-season with the rest of his team-mates, in compliance with his contractual obligations.
“By way of this statement Atletico Madrid wish to express their deepest disgust at the behaviour of both parties, especially Barcelona, for having induced a player to break his contract with Atletico Madrid at a point in the season where the club was fighting not just for the Champions League against Juventus, but also La Liga itself against none other than Barcelona.”